THE GOSPELS 84
UNDERSTANDING THE REAL MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST
One of the greatest problems Jesus had during His earthly ministry, was making people understand what His real mission was. Even His closest disciples did not understand it, as evidenced by a number of things they said and questions they asked of Jesus. Obviously, Peter did not understand exactly what the confession he made really meant.
Because the Jews had always envisioned the Messiah as one who would lead them to victory over their enemies and establish an earthly kingdom, so they would be the rulers of the world, Jesus warned His disciples not to proclaim Him “The Messiah” to the multitudes. He did not want them trying to make Him their leader and starting a riot against the Romans. However, even they still had the idea of an earthly kingdom, as evidenced by their own words.
Right after Peter had proclaimed Him The Christ and the Son of God, he became very agitated, even denying the validity of Jesus’ words, and insisted that he wanted to prevent Jesus from the trials and death He had just predicted. Jesus sorrowfully said that he was in league with Satan in trying to stop Him from fulfilling the purpose for which the Father had sent Him to earth.
In the Transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah appeared, Peter was so impressed with the situation that he wanted to build a shrine for each of them, including Jesus. God’s voice came to make it clear that only Jesus, His Son,
was to be listened to and worshipped. Would that men today would get the same message. Men, no matter how pious and important, are not to be recognized as rule makers or to be worshipped. Only God’s Son, by God’s own proclamation, is to be heard.
Later, the disciples were arguing among themselves as to who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. They were still thinking of the Kingdom in earthly terms, as a place where they would have authority and position. Jesus quickly dispelled that idea by showing them a little child and telling them that the greatest in His Kingdom would be following Him with childlike trust and humble faith. No positions of rank and importance would exist as in an earthly kingdom. The servant of all would be the greatest.
Like many people today, the disciples thought of their group as the only right group. John said they found some casting out demons in the name of Jesus and they told them to stop, because they were not a part of the “in crowd” around Jesus. He rebuked them, and told them that anyone who looked to Him as their leader and example was to be blessed.
Both Mark and Luke tell us that when Jesus predicted that He would be delivered into the hands of men and be killed and rise again, they did not understand it but were afraid to ask Him what He meant. They were not ready to give up their long held notions of the Messiah leading them to victory, and when Jesus spoke of His death they did not want to hear this. The concept of His resurrection was surely too much for them to conceive.
Men today wish to hear the words of Jesus only when He says what pleases them, and what fits into their desires of what the Kingdom and the church should be like. As a result much of religion today revolves around liturgies, forms, rules and regulations, and other things that allow us to feel pious and religious, but do not demand any sacrifice or self-denial. Most of Christendom wants Christianity without a Cross. But Jesus said if we were to follow Him, we must deny self, take up the Cross and then follow Him.
All of this also says that whatever binding and loosing Peter and the other disciples were authorized to do was to be dictated by inspiration from Heaven and not conceived and ordered by them. When the age of direct inspiration ceased, the age of binding and loosing came to a close. The rules for such
had been set by Heaven, and they are still in force. Only by the words of the Book does any man have the right to deliver the commands of God.
Finally, please recognize that the mission of Jesus Christ was to bring remission of sins to men on earth. Only the sinless can dwell with God in the perfection of His Kingdom, and only by the blood of Jesus can that sinlessness be achieved. This was His mission. Not to set up an organization called a church, or to create a Christian club. He is after human hearts, who, unlike
Adam, will deny self and hear only the Son of God. It is not a group activity. It is an individual matter, and requires personal desire and conviction. It does not have to do with pious actions and membership in the right group. It means understanding His real mission and giving your heart and soul to Him, so He can forgive your sins and open the gates of the Eternal Kingdom to you.